Learning from the Humboldt Truck Incident

The Humboldt truck / bus incident has come to the forefront recently due to a National Television Network doing a special edition story on the truck driver that killed 16 people and injured 13 others on a bus carrying a hockey team that crashed in a remote highway crossing. The driver is currently serving time in jail for the incident and is now facing deportation when released and is fighting to stay in Canada. Some of the people from the same hockey team that lost their loved one is now helping the driver to stay in Canada. You can listen to the story in the video below from the W5 Special on CTV.

What can we learn from this incident as a new driver? The incident is the reason that Mandatory Entry Level Training (M.E.L.T.) was brought into many Provinces and has put training at the forefront of the industry for many years. For a new person to the industry there is a number of lessons that can be learned and is a huge training opportunity for instructors in the industry. This driver made a number of mistakes himself but also shouldn’t have been on the road at all with the type of equipment he had with the experience that he had. The carrier was a fly by night carrier that had a history of violations and history of not operating properly in the industry and only received a small fine from the incident. What can we learn?


We harp about being safe in our industry but does that really sink in? By not working safely it can cause loss of life to someone else, ruin your life, and ruin your career. It only takes a moment. Many people with successful careers in the industry will tell you that attitude is everything in this industry and an attitude of safety and professionalism can take you a long way in your career.


Take your training seriously! This driver did not have near enough training to handle the equipment that he was driving. Proper training is the foundation to a good career in trucking and is just the start. Taking it seriously, learning all you can, and receiving training from quality training facilities and certified programs is the key. Don’t take a short cut in your training and don’t choose a training program based on price. Go to a reputable school that has an interest in your success with proper training.


As a new driver it is important that you work with a quality carrier that has a good Finishing (training) Program that will ensure you are comfortable and ready for a life on the road. Do not just work with any carrier offering a job. You need someone that will hold your hand for a while and make sure you can handle the equipment safely. Most carrier programs for new drivers are six weeks in length. Do your homework and sign on with an employer that cares.

This driver is in a bad situation for a number of reasons. He did not have the proper training to be on the road with the equipment that he was operating. He worked with a carrier that did not care about safety had a history of violations, and should not have even been operating. His lack of experience caused him to focus on his load taking away from what he really should have been focusing on, the road. As a result this driver lost his career, years of his life in jail, possible deportation out of Canada, and has to live with this incident for the rest of his life. The families of the people on the bus have lost loved ones, future memories, and their lives have been changed forever. The industry has implemented some changes but there is still a long way to go. I can tell you from someone that has been in the industry for many years that trucking can offer you a full-filling career but it all depends on you. Get proper training and you too can have a great career in trucking.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media entrepreneur in the industry producing a number of programs within the trucking industry. You can learn more about Bruce and his work and his trucking podcast at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com

Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only


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